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But grant, the virtues of a temperate prime
Blest with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts in unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers ;
The general favourite, as the general friend :
Such age there is, and who could wish its end?

Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
To press the weary minute's flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear.
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy from withering life away;
New forms arise, and different views engage,
Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage,
Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.

But few there are whom hours like these await,
Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end ;
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise ?
From Marlborough's eyes the streams of dotage
And Swift expires a driveller and a show. How,

The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Bege for each birth the fortune of a face : Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring : And Sedley curs’d the form that pleas'd a king. Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes! Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise, VOL. 1.

23

Whom joys with soft varieties invite,
By day the frolic, and the dance by night,
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
And ask the latest fashion of the heart, save,
What care, what rules your heedless charms shali
Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave?
Against your fame with Fondness hate combines,
The rival batters, and the lover mines.
With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls;
Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slippery reign,
And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain.
In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
The harmless Freedom, and the private Friend.
The guardians yield, by force superior ply'd;
By Interest, Prudence; and by Flattery, Pride.
Now Beauty falls betray'd, despis'd, distress'd,
And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.

Where then shall Hopeand Fear their objects find?
Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries attempt the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer cease! petitions yet remain,
Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain.
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice.
Safe in His pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray’r,
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,

Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of Heav'n ordain,
These goodsHe grants, who grants the pow'r to gain;
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.

Johnson.

con

THE TRIALS OF VIRTUE.

Plac'd on the verge of youth, my mind

Life's op'ning scene survey'd: I view'd its ills of various kind,

Afflicted and afraid.

But chief my fear the dangers mov'd,

That Virtue's path enclose:
My heart the wise pursuit approv'd;

But, oh, what toils oppose !
For see! ah see! while yet her ways

With doubtful step I tread,
A hostile world its terrors raise,

Its snares delusive spread.

O how shall I with heart prepar'd

Those terrors learn to meet ?
How from the thousand snares to guard

My unexperienc'd feet?

As thus I mus'd, oppressive sleep

Soft o'er my temples drew Oblivion's veil.The watery deep,

An object strange and new,
Before me rose: on the wide shore

Observant as I stood,
The gathering storms around me roar;

And heave the boiling flood.

Near and more near the billows rise ;

E'en now my steps they lave! And death to my atfrighted eyes

Approach'd in every wave.

What hope, or whither to retreat!

Each nerve at once unstrung; Chill fear had fetter'd fast my feet,

And chain'd my speechless tongue.

I feel my heart within me die ;

When sudden to mine ear
A voice, descending from on high,

Reprov'd my erring fear : • What though the swelling surge thou see

Impatient to devour ;
Rest, mortal, rest on God's decree,

And thankful own his pow'r.

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I heard ; and lo! at once control'd,

The waves, in wild retreat,
Back on themselves reluctant rollid,

And murmuring left my feet.

Deeps to assembling deeps in vain,

Once more the signal gave: The shores the rushing weight sustain,

And check th' usurping wave.

Convinc'd, in Nature's volume wise,

The imag'd truth I read;
And sudden from my waking eyes

Th’instructive vision fled.

Then why thus heavy, O my soul !

Say why, distrustful still, Thy thoughts with vain impatience roll

O'er scenes of future ill?

Let faith suppress each rising fear,

Each anxious doubt exclude; Thy Maker's will has plac'd thee here,

A Maker wise and good!

He to thy ev'ry trial knows

Its just restraint to give; Attentive to behold thy woes,

And faithful to relieve.

Then why thus heavy, O my soul !

Say why, distrustful still, Thy thoughts with vain impatience roll

O’er scenes of future ill?

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